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What Will I Study at Naturopathic Medical School?

What Will I Study at Naturopathic Medical School?


A well designed curriculum is the bedrock of any quality, accredited educational program.  At SCNM, we are often asked about the specific content and structure of our coursework, as well as the similarities and differences between naturopathic medical school and other types of medical of education.

SCNM’s ND program is comprised of both rigorous academic coursework as well as extensive hands on supervised clinical practice. Students learn the same foundational bio-medical sciences they would at a conventional medical school, as well as all of the naturopathic therapies including nutrition, botanical medicine, physical manipulation and so much more. 

The SCNM faculty utilizes the most advanced teaching methods, such as team-based learning and case-based instruction. These methods promote problem solving and critical thinking, which support student engagement in early clinical experiences.  SCNM employs a full time instructional designer to ensure that the curriculum is always up to the highest standards and keeps up with the ever-changing world of healthcare and best practices in medical education. 

Our faculty also pride themselves on preparing students for the NPLEX clinical milestone exams.  During the latest round of testing, 92% of first time test takers at SCNM passed the NPLEX Part I. 

Students begin their SCNM journey by studying the biomedical sciences, principles of naturopathic medicine and basic clinical skills. The first two years at SCNM are focused on providing a foundation of medical knowledge through courses in biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and more. Students then move on to clinical and laboratory diagnosis, pathology and diagnostic imaging, combined with therapeutic disciplines such as acupuncture and nutrition.

SCNM utilizes a standardized patient program in which students work with mock patients to practice the skills they have learned in the classroom.  SCNM also has a field observation program where students shadow physicians in the community during their first two years. 

Once students obtain a comprehensive understanding of human health and disease, they are faced with the rewarding task of applying science-based conceptual understanding with naturopathic principles in supervised patient care settings. The final two years at SCNM continue didactic coursework, but heavily focus on hands on experience as a student clinician.  Approximately 15,000 patient visits occur annually at the SCNM Medical Center, so students gain experience treating people of all different ages, genders and levels of health.  There is also an elective off-site program during the third year of study in which students can shadow physicians off campus.

Clinical experience and direct patient care the most important part of a naturopathic doctorate program.  At SCNM, students have 1,232 hours of direct patient care in primary and secondary physician’s roles. They also have more than 100 options for elective site clerkships.  

For a more detailed breakdown of the program of study click here, or view our course catalog.

We would love to discuss more about our innovative curriculum with you, so contact us by clicking here or by giving us a call at 480.858.9100.